Drone Incursions at Stadiums Increasing Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII

drones Super Bowl

Cornfield948, CC BY-SA 3.0 

Increasing Problems with Drones Over Stadiums as Super Bowl LVIII Approaches (and yes, there is a no fly zone.)

A recent report from Dedrone, a leader in smart airspace security, has unveiled a concerning trend regarding illegal drone activity around major sporting events. According to a Dedrone press release, over 4,000 illegal drone flights were recorded around 370 major sporting events in 2023, marking a nearly 20% increase from the previous year. These incidents have resulted in event delays, the apprehension of drone pilots, and heightened risks to public safety.

Cathy Lanier, the National Football League’s Chief Security Officer, highlighted the escalating nature of drone incursions, noting that incidents nearly doubled between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 regular football seasons. Lanier emphasized the challenges faced by authorities in addressing these incursions, revealing that only 6% of the 121,000 requests made to the FBI for specialized counterdrone units were fulfilled from 2018 to 2023.

A notable incident occurred in November 2023, during a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD. Broadcast footage captured a drone flying over the stadium, prompting two stoppages in the game.

With Super Bowl LVIII scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on February 11, concerns regarding drone security have come to the forefront. Las Vegas, utilizing DedroneCityWide, the largest airspace security infrastructure globally, has taken proactive measures to safeguard critical zones, including major stadiums, the airport, and the Las Vegas Strip.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department emphasized the importance of collaboration between external security and public safety groups to ensure the safety of attendees, players, staff, and citizens.

Recognized as a SEAR 1 event by the Department of Homeland Security, the Super Bowl has prompted collaboration between Las Vegas and 36 public safety and security working groups. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already issued temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for drones around key locations, with strict penalties for violators.

Ben Wenger, Chief Revenue Officer of Dedrone, emphasized the necessity of counterdrone technology in light of escalating threats. He called for stronger counterdrone legislation and highlighted available mitigation solutions.  (Currently, it is illegal for anyone other than authorities acting under very specific circumstances to mitigate, or down, a drone: federal laws prohibit interfering with aircraft.)

“These rising statistics make it obvious that counterdrone technology is no longer nice to have. It is now essential.”

“Unauthorized drone activity is escalating everywhere. The difference between this season’s data and last year’s is particularly stark, especially with TV cameras now capturing and broadcasting these events to millions of viewers at home, highlighting significant breaches of security. With 2024 bringing both Super Bowl LVIII and the 2024 Summer Olympics, we must take these threats seriously,”said Wenger.“ Major sporting leagues have voiced their support for stronger counterdrone legislation, and there are mitigation solutions available. It’s time we enact legislation that allows public safety agencies to effectively use them.”

Dedrone, headquartered near Washington, D.C., provides comprehensive airspace security solutions to commercial, government, and military customers worldwide. The company has garnered recognition for its innovative approach to drone security and continues to advocate for enhanced drone safety measures.

For more information on drone-related activity and airspace security, visit Dedrone’s global incident center or access their website at http://www.dedrone.com/.

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Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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